The iRacing.com Prototype & GT Challenge put Brazil, Interlagos and Week 6 in its collective rear view mirrors to travel north to Canada and Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Last week in Brazil, Tommaso Carlà took another victory in HPD extending his championship lead, while the Corvette class saw Kay Kaschube take the victory and also extend his championship lead as well. In contrast, Ford GT had a new face at the top of the week in the form of Kurt Gross, while Csaba Volyka Jr remained out front in the championship order. Different though their virtual race cars may be, Carlà, Kaschube and Volyka arrived in Montreal determined to remain on top of their respective championships.
The HPD main race saw Carlà, once again, on pole ahead of Leonid Sokolov, Christopher M Payne, James Obernier and Anton Volodin. While the first lap saw Carlà ‘s HPD ARX 01c disappear into the sunset, the positions behind shuffled with Payne moving around Sokolov for second position while Volodin passed Obernier for P4. The top five would remain the same until Lap 20 when Sokolov had an accident, forcing him to retire from a race that saw Carlà take the victory over Payne, Volodin, Obernier and Sebastien Abraham.
Taking home most points yet again gives Carlà a healthy lead over others such as Sokolov, Anthony Kernich, Robert Tinsey and Stephane Gamblin. But while the HPD championship is looking good for Carlà, the rest of the podium is largely up for grabs. The series finishes the first race of the second half of the season and Carlà looks strong for the remainder.
The Corvettes main race featured many of the series regulars with Danis Richard on pole over Florian Denard, Markus Maier, Henrik Carlsson and Gunner Moore. Those five would get good starts, and remain close in the opening stages of the race. Richard held an early lead early over Denard, but Moore was on the move early getting around Carlsson for fourth on Lap Five. Moore continued to move forward, grabbing third place from Maier on Lap 10. Nor was he the only mover, as Denard snuck into the lead after Richard went off track on Lap 18 and then dropped down the order as the result of multiple instances of car contact. Moore was the beneficiary of Richard’s problems as he moved into the second position with Maier and Carlsson following behind. The four would continue in order until the end, with Denard taking home the victory and top points for the week over Moore, Maier and Carlsson.
The Corvette championship still has Kaschube on top, and now with a very large lead over Florian Denard, with Brett Taft and Gunner Moore just behind. While the top spot seems pretty well secured, there are three drivers looking for the final two spots on the podium, and all have a very good shot at grabbing them.
The Ford GT class had a small grid for its main online race, and some new faces filled it. Mika Lirkki sat on pole over Michael Booth and Marco Corti. Lirkki sustain the lead early over Booth who stayed right in his tracks for a number of laps. On the other hand, Corti experienced a problem in the early going, and would later be forced to retire from the race.
Up front, Booth continued to pressure Lirkki for the lead. Booth would finally get the look he needed on Lap 10, and passed Lirkki for the lead. He then consistently reeled-off a series of laps to pull away Lirkki. It seemed as if Lirkki may have picked up damage, which could be the cause of his drop off after being overtaken. In the end, Booth would take the Ford GT victory over Lirkki and Corti.
Booth’s victory notwithstanding, the Ford GT championship continues to have Csaba Volyka Jr at the top with Stefano Giuriali, Ferenc Asztalos and Erik Veidorf vying for the final two spots on the podium. With the second half of the season already under way, things will only get closer in the Ford GT championship.
The Prototype and GT Challenge series leaves North America and the Montreal circuit to fly to Europe and one of the most popular circuits on the calendar: Spa Francorchamps. The legendary Belgian circuit is home of Formula One and the World Endurance Championship and, with large run offs incorporated into a circuit wide enough to provide more viable passing opportunities in traffic, will be much easier on sim-racers than Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.